Sunday, March 29, 2009

Fitness update

Little to no change from last week indicates that I'm not doing much of anything which is true. I should get out on my bike and get some miles in, but instead I tell myself I'll do some packing, but I just end up goofing around.

All of this will change once I move. I know that I've said that before, but I really mean it this time. Heh. I've said that before as well.

A little whining and bitching

Tonight I played pool with the Yahoo group for the last time for a while. I sucked as usual, but had a good time as usual. It wasn't a sausage fest as usual and that's always nice. I also witnessed some of the weakest game ever. This dude was hitting on this woman, but she was doing her best to ignore him and just play pool.

I know I should be thankful to now be employed and all that, but I really don't want to leave the Bay Area. I'm starting to get settled in, the weather's nice and my family is on the West Coast. Boo hoo hoo. Heh. At least I'll be paying more than $1k less in rent each month. I can use the extra money to fly around the country more.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

No shampoo update

The greasy feeling reduced as the week went on, but never really went away so I tried using baking soda for the wash (1 tbs in 1 cup water) and apple cider vinegar for the rinse (1 tbs in 1 cup water). The baking soda really dried out my hair so I'm not sure how I could use it without rinsing with the ACV. Of course, I got vinegar in my eye, but I'm clumsy like that.

My hair feels much better than if I wash with warm water only. I guess I shouldn't be too surprised since nearly every no 'poo instructions recommended the baking soda and ACV. I think I'll go back to my homemade shampoo for now until I get a couple of shampoo bottles to make the baking soda wash and ACV rinse. I think it makes more sense to make them up in advance rather than on the spot.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Leaving CA

I know I should be excited about my new job and the big move, but I'm more sad and anxious than anything else. I'm not going to miss the high rent and crazy drivers, but I'll miss just about everything else.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I don't feel right in the head.

I don't know if it's allergies or what, but I don't feel right in the head today. I woke up pretty early and haven't been able to get my brain ready to go. Fortunately, I don't really need it fully operational since I'm still unemployed. I've got a start date of April 13 though so I'll be working again in less than two weeks. That is a little scary, but it'll be good to make money again and it'll be even better to start working again.

I think I'll have to see an allergist out in NY to do something about my sinuses. I feel like there are dudes inside my skull beating each other up. I think I can actually feel fluid in my sinuses moving around. It's a pretty weird feeling and is distracting.

No shampoo

I was pokin' around on the web and found an interesting article advocating just washing your hair with water. Since I'm not really around people much due to unemployment and hermitism, I thought I would give it a try starting today. I know that most shampoos are harsh and strip your hair of its natural oil. I make my own shampoo and it's pretty mild, but maybe even it's too much.

Just rinsing my hair with water goes against years of showering habits and my hair feels a little greasy. I understand that's normal and the feeling will go away once my hair comes back into oil balance. Who knows? Fortunately, I can always go back to using my homemade shampoo.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Big news

I got myself a new job with Global Foundries in Albany, NY. I don't have a firm start date yet, but I'm sure it'll be sometime in April. It'll be good to get back into working, but I'm going to miss the Bay Area. I won't miss the rent prices though.

This job will be good for my career.

Thoughts on Philadelphia 114, Portland 108 (OT)

This game nearly made me sick. Portland dug itself a deep hole in the first half by bombing away from the outside. Portland is one of the tallest teams in the league, but never seems to take advantage of it. Portland also plays some of the worst perimeter defense in the league and Philly's guards were able to get to the rim at will. Portland made even Reggie Evans look good. Philly shot 65% in the first half and ended up shooting 51% for the game. Portland shot 41% from the field thanks to a woeful 10 of 34 from three point land. Why? Why? Why must they jack up contested 3's? It drives me crazy.

What's even worse is that they ruined a great game from Oden. He had 13 points, 8 boards and 2 blocked shots though he blocked and altered many more. For some reason, the scorekeeper is pretty stingy with blocked shots.

Brandon Roy played a terrible game and took one of the worst end-of-regulation shots I've seen. He spent most of the OT period whining to the refs. The refs had a poor game, but you've got to suck it up and get back on defense. Don't stand under the basket and cry like a little bitch. He also calls for too many isolation plays. He needs to work the ball around to get a good shot inside for someone. It doesn't necessarily have to be all on his shoulders. He's played a bit selfishly and petulant recently.

Portland needs to learn a lesson from this game - play aggressively. Philly drove to the hole and went to the line 39 times. Portland only earned 17 foul shots. Again, Portland shoots too many outside shots. It starts with Aldridge and ends with Roy not looking to work the ball inside.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Fitness update

I was able to more or less hold steady this week. I didn't get enough physical activity in, but did do a 16 mile bike ride on Wednesday and a 7 mile hike on Thursday. Those two events more or less compensated for all the sugar I ate and the tournament I watched.

It'll be better once I start up a new job because I know the unemployment stress is not good for me and that I'm eating a lot more than I should. Once I get a new job, I can move to a rented house and there I can jump rope like crazy. Over the years I've found that jumping rope gets me into the best shape the fastest. It's great because I only need to do it for a few minutes each day.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Hiking in Foothills Park

It was wicked nice out yesterday so I went hiking in Palo Alto's Foothills Park. We did the Los Trancos trail because it was the only one longer than a couple of miles. We held up pretty well over its 7 mile length and had lunch by the creek, eating some tasty sandwiches from Dittmer's. I took my small camcorder with me and took this video after lunch. That sound is the water rushing over the rocks. I know not to quit my day job, but it's all good.



I took a few pictures from the top of the hill. You can see where the rich people live.



Heh. I need to do this more often to do something about my gut.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Thoughts on Portland 95, Indiana 85

Portland played another road game in a partially filled arena tonight in Indiana and won by 10 though they were up by 20 in the third quarter. Granny Danger (Danny Granger) did well for Indy, but that was about it. Portland had six dudes in double figures and tonight marked the return of Greg Oden from the injured list. He played well in limited minutes. He was active and a force in the middle. He didn't block a lot of shots, but he altered quite a few and that helps even more. I'd rather a shot gets altered and Portland gets the rebound than the shot go out of bounds.

Unfortunately, both Aldridge and Batum got hurt in the second half and Portland has a big game against the Cavs tomorrow night. Many were pegging it as a loss even with Portland at full-strength, but it could be a blowout if Portland is down two starters.

Blazers highlights: Oden had 7 boards and a blocked shot in 12 minutes. Przybilla had 10 points and 11 boards and played solid defense. Rudy Fernandez was more active and score 13 points, but needed 13 shots to get them.

Blazers lowlights: No burn for Sergio. It looks like Bayless all the way and he has looked lost at best. The Blazers only shot 43% from the field.

The best part of Oden being back is that it forces Frye further down the bench. He has been getting minutes at the 5 and he's too skinny to matchup well. He seems like a nice guy, but he's not a good fit for Portland's half-court system. He and Sergio would do better on other teams so hopefully Portland can trade Sergio this summer and not resign Frye.

Big Monkey bike ride

My friend came up from San Jose and we rode over to the Stevens Creek Trail again. I got to try out three new things: padded bike shorts, a heart rate monitor and a bike computer. The shorts were new for me because I wear boxers. The shorts kept my junk safe and secure, but were a bit emasculating. Fortunately, no one could tell since I had another pair on top. The heart monitor did its job. I got it up to 165 biking on a straightaway, but it was around 115 most of the time. The cyclocomputer worked as well and we biked 15.7 miles. Not too shabby. I got up a maximum speed of 23.4 mph. I would've gone faster, but there was a fierce headwind.

Barbecued pork - Chinese style

Last night I cooked up some barbecued pork, Chinese style using a recipe from one of my Mark Bittman cookbooks. I'm not sure how authentic it is, but it tasted damn good. It didn't hurt that I used pork from Dittmer's.

Here's the recipe:
1.5 lbs boneless pork loin or 2 lbs boneless pork shoulder
3 tbs honey
2 tbs hoisin sauce
2 tbs cooking wine
2 tbs oyster sauce
0.5 tsp five-spice powder

1. Cut the pork lengthwise into 1 inch by 2 inch strips. Pierce the meat all over with the point of a knife. Combine the remaining ingredients and refrigerate for 4 to 24 hours.
2. Preheat the oven to 400 F. Put the meat on a roasting rack and cook for 45 minutes, turning over every 10-15 minutes.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Thoughts on Portland 103, Memphis 92

Portland got blown out yesterday, but came out hot in this game. Aldridge had 15 in the first quarter and Memphis could never get back into it. They got close, but you never got the feeling that Portland was going to lose the game. Portland is a pretty tall team and Memphis lost Milicic to a strained back and Arthur to a leg injury fairly early in the game. That mean plenty of minutes for Gasol. He's alright, but looked tired in the second half. Przybilla feasted on the small line to block shots and rebound.

Portland shot 9-18 from 3 pt land and 19-20 from the FT line. That's going to get it done against a weak team like Memphis. It was weird to see a nearly empty arena. They should've let people move down to fill in the lower bowl so it would look better on TV.

Outlaw brought his family and friends from Starkville, MS so you could hear cheers for him from the upper deck. He responded with a great fourth quarter. I think Portland can get good players for him, but I wouldn't be sorry if he stays.

Blazers highlights: Roy had 9 assists, Przybilla had 13 points, 13 rebounds and 4 blocked shots. Outlaw had 18 points on 6-11 shooting.

Blazers lowlights: No burn for Rodriguez, not much from Fernandez and a pretty poor game from Bayless or Jerry Jayless as the Blazers Edge folk name him (no "d" and no jumper or "j" for those unfamiliar with bball slang).

This game is one Portland should've won and they did. It wasn't really entertaining, but I'm not going to complain after a Portland win. Portland beat last year's win total with games to go.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Thoughts on Atlanta 98, Portland 80

Another craptastic start to an important East Coast road trip. Portland flew in to Atlanta last night and had an early game today and it showed. They came out with little energy and allowed Joe Johnson to shoot from just about anywhere. Johnson is a Roy-, but Portland allowed him to be Roy++.

The bench did little until garbage time and Batum had one of his worst games as a Blazer. He was in foul trouble most of the game because he had trouble keeping Johnson out of the lane. Aldridge played well in the first quarter, but didn't really see the ball much until the end of the third quarter. I don't understand Portland's game plan most of the time. You always should ride the hot hand. Atlanta had no answer for him so pound it into him until they start to double.

Portland's PG played poorly and didn't help to set up the offense. Portland needs to get aggressive in the offseason to find a PG who can penetrate, a PG who can play defense and a PG who can distribute. I doubt all these qualities are in one dude, but maybe they can find a vet and draft a promising young guy. I know they drafted/acquired Bayless last year, but he's a short combo guard and that isn't going to get it done.

Blazer highlights: Przybilla had 14 boards, Aldridge had 19 points and Roy had 29 points.

Blazer lowlights: Too many to count, but Przybilla had an uncharacteristic 5 turnovers and Fernandez was held to 0-4 shooting for 0 points in his first game back from the Trevor Ariza mugging. Portland only had 11 assists for the game. Steve Blake had 14 in a quarter against the Clippers last month.

Crikey. It was a fairly ugly game in the second half. Portland needs to dig deep for some energy to salvage a couple of wins on this road trip to stay in the playoff race. Phoenix is fading so Portland should make the playoffs, but they might back in.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Trying out my new Flip Mino

My uncle was rockin' a Flip Ultra during Thanksgiving last year and I had some birthday cash to spend so I bought a Flip Mino last week. I like the button arrangement better than with the Ultra and it's smaller, but it has a rechargeable battery whereas the Ultra takes AAA. It's definitely pretty cool and the quality is better than expected.

I made a short test video at the Sunnyvale farmers' market this morning (I'm the one talking):

video

They make a cool accessory called the action mount that lets you attach your camera to a helmet or bike handlebars. It's only $15 so I'm definitely going to order it so that I can take videos during my bike rides.

Edit: For some reason, it'll only buffer up the first three or four seconds. You can use the slider to access the rest, but that's kind of lame. I think I'll upload them to YouTube in the future and then just embed them or link to them here.

Fitness update

Even though the graph is still trending upwards, I thought it would be worse this week since I was in NY interviewing and pretty much ate crap and got little activity. I tried to eat as well as I could, but it's tough when you're on the road. Interestingly enough, my body fat percentage even fell 0.8 percentage points. I wonder why.

I need to get back to exercising and I think the blister on my heel has almost healed. I've had a lot of blisters before, but they usually heal in just a few days. This one has taken nearly two weeks. Strange.

I got a bike computer for my bike so I should install that and try it out. It'll be cool to know how fast I'm going and how far.

Thoughts on Portland 109, New Jersey 100

Phew. Portland squeaked out a close one. As usual, Portland came out flat in the first quarter with poor shooting and poor perimeter defense. Devin Harris supposedly can dribble from baseline to baseline in 3.9 seconds so obviously Steve Blake can't stay in front of him. Brandon Roy missed all his shots from the floor in the first half yet came alive in the fourth quarter. Przybilla only had three rebounds, but five blocked shots.

Nicolas Batum had a career night with 20 points on 7-8 shooting and his hustle kept Portland in the game all night long. He seems like a steal since he was a late first round pick. Jordan compared him to Pippen. I wouldn't go that far, but he has a lot of skill and he's still just a young rookie.

Portland could've used Fernandez tonight, but he's still recovering from the mugging by Ariza.

Blazer highlights: Roy scored 31 points even though he only shot 8-21 from the field. Outlaw had 10 boards and was more active overall. The Blazers blocked 10 shots.

Blazer lowlights: Sergio and Bayless did diddly squat this game. Portland needs to find a reliable backup PG somewhere.

Portland needed this win since the playoff race in the Western Conference is tight. Most of the teams in contention are separated by just a couple of games in the standings.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

My crazy adventures on my NY interview trip

I just got back today from a trip out to NY to interview with the same company at two different sites. I got my itinerary last week and noticed that I had only 45 minutes to make my connection from Detroit to Newburgh-Stewart which is a pretty dinky airport in Upstate NY. I also wasn't scheduled to get to NY until 11 PM which is pretty late considering I have to get up early the next morning to interview. I contacted the travel agent to discuss my concerns...crickets. My fears were realized as my Salt Lake City to Detroit flight was delayed by nearly 30 minutes. I had to hustle in Detroit to make my flight and didn't even think about my luggage which had all my clothes and other stuff. I waited for my bag in Newburgh and then heard these fateful words, "All luggage is out on the carousel." Unfortunately, mine wasn't so I went to the gate and the agent there told me the earliest I could get my stuff would be about 2 PM the next day. That meant I wouldn't have my interview clothes for my first interview. I told the agent that I was driving to Albany the next night and needed to get my stuff before then. No problem was the answer.

It was about midnight at this point and I had to hit up the 24 hour ghetto Wal*Mart for toiletries. Those who know me well know that I hate Wal*Mart, but this was no time for principles. I checked in to the hotel and tried to get some sleep. I showered the next morning, but had to put on the same clothes. I drive to the interview and explain the situation. It turned out to be a good ice-breaker and no one was that concerned. Unfortunately, my allergy meds were in my bag so I was zoning out a bit. The daylight saving time switch and normal time difference hurt as well - to the tune of four hours. My bag was expected to be delivered in the early afternoon. I didn't get a call by 4 so I called the airport. Oh, my bag had just landed. I mentioned that I was leaving the site around 5, but was told there would be no way to get my bag by then. I said I could pick it up at the airport on my way to Albany and would be there after 5. At no point was I told to be there by a certain time. I wasn't able to get to the airport until just before 6, but found the NWA and Delta counters deserted. The US Airways people paged and paged and the security woman told me my bag was back there, but no one was authorized to give it to me so I would have to come back at 9. Fuck that.

I drove up to Albany pretty pissed off and checked in. I called the Newburgh airport and they said that the understanding was that I would pick the bag up in Newburgh that night even though I mentioned three or four times during my conversations with NWA agents that I would be in Albany that night and needed to get my bag before I drove up. The dude was apologetic, but said that I wouldn't get my bag that night. So there's another night and interview day in the same stanky, travel-stained clothes.

I called Newburgh early the next morning and spoke to the supervisor. She claimed she was there until 6, but that's bullshit. I was there from 5:50 to 6:30. I think she was there until "6" which is the same thing all of us believe when we duck out early. She also informed me that anyone at the airport could've given my luggage. I damn near had a heart attack due to rage, but was able to keep it together. She said my bag would have to be flown from Newburgh to Albany through either Detroit or Atlanta and wouldn't arrive until late that night. I said fuck the heck and had them just to send it back to SJ. So...I interview at another site in my same stanky clothes. People were understanding, but my allergies were killing me.

I flew back to SJ today without incident and picked up my luggage. I called the customer care number, but got an automated system so I filed a report through their web page detailing what happened and requesting my $15 bag fee back plus some more money for not having my bag during my trip. I understand that I had a tight connection in Detroit and wasn't really upset about that. It's the fact that they couldn't be arsed to make sure I got my bag before I had to drive up to Albany that pisses me off. I know the economy is tough, but there should be at least one person with authority on duty all day at the airport.

We'll see if I get either job or if I get any money from NWA.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Fitness update

I got a blister hiking last Saturday so I wasn't really able to wear shoes this past week. No shoes + a lot of rain = little fitness activity and it shows in the graph. Both my weight and body fat are trending up in the wrong direction, but I'm not that surprised. I haven't been active and I've been eating a lot of crap. I've just about undone about half of the improvement from last summer. Not cool. Fortunately, I can do something about it so there's no need for crying.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Ham dinner

I guess Easter must be coming up soon because the butcher shop had a lot of ham for sale. I got one earlier this week and cooked it last night. I also made some corn bread and cut up some pineapple and strawberries. You can see that I tried hard to make sure the fruit didn't tough the homemade mustard in the middle of my plate.

The ham was only sort of warm, but still tasted really good. The corn bread was good as always. I have a lot of recipes that are pretty fool-proof and corn bread is one of them.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Thoughts on Portland 107, Indiana 105

Indiana had beaten Portland 9 times in a row until tonight, but Portland got a little love from the officials at the end to squeeze it out which is good because Portland needs every win it can get down the stretch to make the playoffs.

Portland started the first quarter off with its usual porous defense and poor outside shooting. The best way to beat Portland is to spread the floor out and let your guards go to work. Portland's perimeter defense is terrible and none of Portland's guards is a good defender. Przybilla was fighting the flu so he wasn't his usual self and didn't clean up everything around the basket. On defense, you want to pack it in and sort of dare Portland to shoot from the outside. Not many Blazers can create their own shot so you just need to trap the ball.

Portland was down 7 at halftime and down 8 at the end of the third quarter. Somehow they pulled it out in the fourth quarter. I guess shots that weren't going down previously started to fall. I nearly had a heart attack in the final couple minutes of the game and thought Blake's gaffe at the end was going to sink them.

Blazer highlights: Free throw shooting wasn't too much of a problem tonight, especially down the stretch. Outlaw shot 9-15 for 21 points and grabbed 6 boards. Brandon Roy had 28 points and took over the fourth quarter as usual.

Blazer lowlights: Only 13 assists tonight which indicates too many isolation plays. Przybilla got pushed around by Hibbert, but I'm going to chalk that up to Przy's flu. Portland also allowed Ford and Jack to go wild.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Demotivated

I'm not sure if I'm still working the large Oreo shake through my system or not or maybe it's the crappy weather, but I feel highly unmotivated today. I didn't really want to get up and if I wasn't going to meet some people for lunch I might have tried to sleep the whole day.

I didn't answer my phones at all last night because I didn't really feel like talking to anyone. I'm not sure what my problem is, but I'm sure it's related to my allergies and my lack of work. I should be happy that I have enough money to coast a bit longer and that I have a couple of job opportunities and even an interview, but I guess I'm a little disappointed that I'll most likely need to relocate. I like living out here. Oh well. I should try to make the best out of whatever happens and nothing says that I can't move back here when the economy improves.

Monday, March 2, 2009

My mini-adventure with the worst food in America

Yep, that's right. Last night I went to Baskin-Robbins and ordered up the largest Oreo shake they have. Men's Health, a magazine, recently voted this shake the worst thing you can eat in the US. You can find the jaw-dropping nutrition data here, though you'll have to scale all numbers up by ~ 50%.

Why did I order this monstrosity when I knew it was bad for me? I just wanted to see what eating that much crap would do to me - sort of my own scaled down Supersize Me experiment.

Firstly, it tastes pretty good for about the first half, but it's sweet and rich so I had trouble making it all the way through. Secondly, dairy aggravates my allergies so some of my suffering is related to that. I think I drank the whole thing in about twenty minutes which is incredible. I ate more than a day's worth of calories in twenty minutes. Holy moly! Thirdly, I felt like throwing up after I finished it, but I managed to keep everything down. It's nearly 12 hours later and I still feel like throwing up. Fortunately, I have all day to detoxify.

Now I understand how Americans got fat. We eat this kind of stuff all day, every day without really batting an eye. The law requires that nutrition data be available, but I think it should be prominent so that people can make informed decisions. I don't think this food should be outlawed, but if enough people learn how bad it is, they'll buy less of it and those who don't care still have an opportunity to gorge themselves.

Kids, don't try this experiment at home.